Biological Sciences: Halteres of Flies as Gyroscopic Organs of Equilibrium

  title={Biological Sciences: Halteres of Flies as Gyroscopic Organs of Equilibrium},
  author={Gottfried Samuel Fraenkel and James Pringle},
IN insects belonging to the group Diptera the second pair of wings is modified into a pair of dumbbell shaped organs, called halteres or balancers, which consist of a thickened base bearing numerous sense organs, a shaft, and a swollen blood-filled end (Fig. 1, A). During flight the halteres are vibrated rapidly through an arc of about 90° in the vertical plane with a frequency which is almost certainly identical with that of the wing beat. In Calliphora, Lucilia or Phormia this is about 200… 

Organs of Equilibrium in Flying Insects

It is in such insects (Diptera, in which the forewings alone are functional, and Strepsiptera with functional hindwings only) that the reduced appendages are transformed into halteres.

The halteres of the blowfly Calliphora

Compensatory head reactions of flies to imposed body rotations in yaw, pitch and roll are quantitatively analysed and the haltere is characterized as a sense organ for maintaining equilibrium as well as a method to mimick rotational stimuli by subjecting the body of a flying fly to vibrations.

The Function of the Halteres of Flies (Diptera)

A new theory of the function of the halteres has been advanced which regards the Halteres as equilibrium organs functioning by the gyroscopic action of the vibrating haltere on the sense-organs in the base of the haltere.

Visual input to the efferent control system of a fly's "gyroscope".

It is shown that motoneurons innervating muscles of the haltere receive strong excitatory input from directionally sensitive visual interneurons in the form of efferent modulation of hard-wired equilibrium reflexes.

The halteres of the blowfly Calliphora

  • G. Nalbach
  • Physics, Education
    Journal of Comparative Physiology A
  • 2004
From these considerations it is concluded that Coriolis forces play the major role in detecting body rotations.

Haltere-mediated equilibrium reflexes of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.

  • M. Dickinson
  • Biology
    Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
  • 1999
The results indicate that flies possess a robust equilibrium reflex in which angular rotations of the body elicit compensatory changes in both the amplitude and stroke frequency of the wings.

The fine structure of campaniform sensilla on the halteres of Drosophila melanogaster

The campaniform sensilla on halteres of Drosophila were studied by electron microscopy in order to establish the relationships of functional elements in the sensory system. The surface of the

Angular Rate Encoding in Haltere Feedback for Flight Stabilization of Dipteran Insects

The halteres of Dipteran insects represent a unique natural solution to inertial rate measurement. Halteres have been observed to influence both flight stability and optical stabilization of the

Modeling Strain Sensing by the Gyroscopic Halteres, in the Dipteran Soldier Fly, Hermetia illucens

Dipteran insects are known to receive mechanosensory feedback on their aerial rotations from a pair of vibratory gyroscopic organs called halteres. Halteres are simple cantilever-like structures with

The flight of the dipterous fly Muscina stabulans Fallén

  • F. Hollick
  • Biology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences
  • 1940
As a preliminary step in the study of a system consisting of a flying insect and the air surrounding it, a comparison is made between the system under natural conditions of free flight and under experimental conditions, in order to ascertain under what conditions conclusions reached with the insect held stationary would hold for free flight.


Proprioception In Insects: II. The Action Of The Campaniform Sensilla On The Legs

Comparing the campaniform sensilla on the legs of Periplaneta with that of the vertebrate limb reveals an absence of qualitative sensitivity that may have an important bearing on the question of the evolution of behaviour.